Feature Friday- Runners part 6

Well look at that, it's Friday again and not only am I excited about the weekend, hot yoga, a blogger meetup and a long run that I intend to dominate BUT its also Feature Friday and that pretty much makes its a perfect day, wouldn't you say?

This week we've got two more fabulous ladies with super inspiring stories to tell, so enough from me already!

Mary- Mommy on the Run

Mary has been running for the better part of the last fifteen years, but is just getting back into the swing of things after being interrupted by injury and new motherhood. She blogs over at Return of the Runner  about running, writing, mothering, and trying to balance it all.

When did you start running and what inspired you to start?

I first started running in high school as conditioning for my other sports, tennis and crew. I toyed with the idea of trying out for the cross country team, but never considered myself a "real" runner back then so stuck with the sports I knew I was good at. I don't think I considered myself a real runner until I finished my first half-marathon when I was 31 years old, even though I'd been running on and off for years by then.
What top 3 things do you love most about running?

I love that it can be done anywhere. I travel a lot for work, and mostly to developing countries. If I insisted on having an elliptical machine or a tennis court to be able to get my workout in, I'd spend a lot more time watching crappy satellite TV in hotel rooms.

I love that even if you half-ass a run, you still end up getting a pretty good workout in. You can go to an aerobics class and leave without breaking a sweat if you aren't in the mood to give it your all. But even if you normally run five, eight-minute miles and you slack off and only run three, ten-minute miles, you're still doing something good for yourself.

I love the way I feel when I'm done.

What is one obstacle you overcame to become a stronger runner?

Well, I don't know if I'm a stronger runner yet, but I'm on my way... I ran a half marathon when I was pregnant with my son (along with a sign on my back that said, "If you can read this, you're slower than a pregnant woman." heehee.) and by the end of it, even though I'd definitely trained enough for it, my knee was aching. By the next day I could barely walk. Either because of the extra weight I was carrying, or because of the way pregnancy hormones effect your tendons, I'd given myself a bad case of ITB syndrome (runner's knee). I've battled it ever since. Between the ITB syndrome and being a new mother, my running took a nosedive in the past couple years. But I've recently recommitted and am signed up for a 5K on 8/27 and a 10K in October.

The reason these setbacks have made me a stronger runner is that they've made me have to fight to be a runner. I used to say, "Anyone can be a runner. You just put one foot in front of the other." But overcoming these obstacles has made me more proud of my status as a runner and that motivates me to stick with it.

What's your favorite running memory?

Running my first half marathon with my two best friends and my husband. It was such a sense of accomplishment and I'm so glad I shared the experience with them.

Would you rather be able to run 5km really quickly or 50km at a slow and steady pace?

I'd say because I'm not a fast runner and never have been, that running a 5K in under 20 minutes is a fun daydream to have!
What's one tip you would give to a new runner or someone coming back after a break?

Remember that running is like life: There will be good runs and there will be bad runs. Accept that. Enjoy the good runs and brush off the bad ones. Either way, you're only as good as your next run.
Briana- Nurse on the Go!
Briana is originally from Michigan and currently lives in Indiana with my husband of 3 years and their goldendoodle. She keeps busy as a family nurse practitioner and works at the local hospital in town in internal medicine.  When she isn't running and keeping people healthy she likes traveling, reading, blogging, wine, sweets, gossip mags, sunshine, hugs, and family time. You can catch her over at Nurse with a Purse.
When did you start running and what inspired you to start?

I grew up playing sports like softball and lacrosse. I was always able to sprint well, but distance running never came naturally. It wasn't until winter 2009 that I decided to (wo)man up and sign up for my first 5K. I was inspired by my friend, Amy, a running superhero in my mind (hey, anyone who runs sub 4-hr marathons is unbelievable; and especially a 3.5!). I did nearly all of my training on the treadmill and followed no specific training schedule. I just got out there and ran. I felt completely unprepared at the start, but found myself dashing down the strip and back in 27:30, light years faster than I had ever imagined. I didn't even get a medal and I was hooked. I love Amy for giving me the running bug!
What keeps you motivated to run?

I'm extremely happy with the way I feel both mentally and physically since I've become a runner, so maintaining that is a huge motivator. Also, just being a part of the online running community keeps me on track. I've started this new thing via Twitter where I recruit "virtual training" buddies (#virtualtraining). Interested friends and I set up a time and date that we both plan to be running/exercising and make a point to follow up with each other once we're done! It keeps us both accountable for our workouts, especially when it's the last thing we may feel like doing. Shoot me a tweet if you're interested!
Are you training for any races at the moment?

Yes! My first marathon will be the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 10.9.11. I also have the unbelievable privilege to be raising money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and Team in Training in honor of my late grandmother. She battled hard against her fight with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and so it's only fitting for me to do the same. Only my battle will be on the pavement. I couldn't be more excited to be a part of this amazing organization. Please take a moment to visit my TNT fundraising page here. Go Team!!
What is your favorite distance to run?

So far I have completed 6 half marathons, so I'd have to say that is my preferred distance. Ask me again on 10.10.11 after 26.2. Then again, don't :)
What top 3 things do you love most about running?

The mental clarity it provides.

The fact that I can pick up wherever I am and just go.

Buying new gear! ["I have an addiction, sir!" ~ Carrie Bradshaw]
What's one tip you would give to a new runner?

I think you'll hear this from a lot of people, but the biggest obstacle to overcome is just getting out there and running. Thomas Jefferson once said "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today." It's the absolute truth. If you don't make yourself run today, what is going to change by tomorrow? Nothing. To some of us (ahem, me), running doesn't come naturally. Luckily, everyone was born to run. It's just about training your body to do it and do it well. Believe me, the benefits you'll reap are beyond imaginable. I never thought I would be in the physical or mental condition to be training for a full marathon. But here I am, just over 6 weeks away from 26.2 miles. And I couldn't be more excited!

Even if you aren't a runner I can't imagine not being inspired to lace up after reading about these awesome gals!!

If you want to be featured in the Runner Series all you have to do is email health.happiness.skinnyjeansATgmail.com. And remember, this is about runners on all levels so whether you are brand new and working on your first C25K or you've completed an Ironman, we want to hear from you!!!

Happy Friday my friends!!

So tell me, are you doing anything super exciting this weekend? Do tell!



  1. Thanks again, Sam!! :)

  2. So fun to read about other runners! I swear this is the best sport in the world! Keep it coming!